Judge dismisses Mongrel Mob’s drug rehab program as basis to reduce sentence


Judge Collins challenged the validity of Kahukura’s rehabilitation program, noting that among its executives is Mongrel Mob Notorious boss Sonny Smith. Photo / NZME

Central Hawke’s Bay Kahukura and gang drug rehab program failed in its first attempt at court recognition when a judge in Napier dismissed it as the basis for relaxing a man’s sentence for involvement in supplying methamphetamine .

Judge Russell Collins concluded that the program, based on Mongrel Mob with $ 2.75 million committed from government-run proceeds of crime seizure funds, executed on a marae near Waipawa, is yet to be approved for these purposes by the correctional service.

Its length and other aspects were “below” the standards of other approved rehabilitation projects, such as the Bridge program managed by the Salvation Army.

But despite the determination, and that he was also convicted of threatening a former partner and attacking his car in violation of conditions following a previous community sentence, and a list of previous prison sentences and violent offenses and drug-related, 28-Old Damian Iwi Ngaro Tipu avoided being sent to prison.

Tipu, who completed the program for five weeks, was offered another chance with a seven-month house arrest sentence – along with another year of post-sentenced supervision.

Judge Collins, admitting that the involved methamphetamine at 2.45g was not significant, recently sentenced his partner and co-offender Nicole Alexandra Shergold to four months of house arrest and 12 months of post-sentence supervision.

The offense was committed while the couple lived in Waipukurau earlier this year, and Tipu started the Kahukura program while on electronic surveillance bail in July.

The Napier courthouse.  Photo / NZME
The Napier courthouse. Photo / NZME

Appearing for Tipu, Napier’s attorney, Matt Dixon, requested that Tipu complete the course to determine the type and length of sentence.

A former defense attorney and crown attorney working for about four decades in Hawke’s Bay, Justice Collins challenged the program’s validity in the process, noting that among its leadership is Mongrel Mob boss Sonny Smith and that the Mongrel Mob was at the center. of most methamphetamine offenses in the region.

Tipu’s presence was reported in pre-sentence material, and the accused was said to have tested negative in the methamphetamine screening processes used in the program, which the judge observed to be “drug tests.” self-reported drugs ”.

The judge asked how he could “put aside” the “institutional knowledge” and conclude that Smith, as head of the chapter, was able to rehabilitate members with methamphetamine, a Class A drug sold by many members of the gang.

He said there is “one entity that looms over anyone else as the originator of the methamphetamine trade in Hawke’s Bay” and that was “the Mongrel Mob”.

The defense attorney claimed the negative test was proof of Tipu’s benefits from the program and showed a determination to put the meth behind him and rehabilitate himself.

Tipu, charged with supplying methamphetamine, possession of utensils for drug use, threatening behavior, intentional harm and violation of post-detention conditions, has been considered for his guilty pleas and other factors as the judge imposed a sentence of 26 months. ‘imprisonment for less than two years, allowing him to consider house arrest as the last sentence.

Emma Gardner, director of the Mental Health and Addictions Corrections Service, told Hawke’s Bay Today that the ministry was a member of the interagency group that recommended that the program receive funding from the Justice Sector Fund for proceeds from the justice sector. criminality.

She had not been one of the agencies previously consulted by the promoter and director of the Kahukura project, H2R Research and Consulting Ltd, had not provided any feedback and had had no involvement beyond that. of the panel, she said.

“We have not carried out any evaluation of the effectiveness of the Kahukura program, and we have no role to play in approving its operation,” she said.

But she said Correction is still interested in better understanding the interventions and therapeutic models used to involve individuals or groups who may traditionally be reluctant to engage in treatment.

“We are committed to reducing recidivism and giving offenders every chance to change their lives,” she said.

“We are working hard to provide convicted offenders with the right intervention at the right time to encourage them to meet their rehabilitation and intervention needs,” she continued. “To help people deal with their delinquency, we offer programs based on risk, need and their ability to respond to the program. “

“Our programs emphasize motivation for change, cognitive behavioral interventions, and soft skills such as education, employment, parenting therapy, and life skills,” she said.

“To ensure that we are targeting our investment on interventions that are working, we measure the effectiveness of our programs each year, and the results are published in our annual report.”

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